In the fifth chapter of The Realms of the Gods, fuck the Bridge, I’m going to have nightmares forever. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Realms of the Gods.
Chapter Five: The Bridge
I generally do well with heights these days, but there was a time about a decade or so ago where I could only cope with them in the context of thrill rides. Roller coasters? Totally fine. The roof of a ten-story building? Get me the fuck out of here. And while I’ve managed to face this particular phobia of mine over the years, that initial burst of fear? That hasn’t really gone away. Specifically, I used to be terrified of bridges over water, so this chapter? This is nightmare fuel in the worst way for me.
Of course, this is far more frightening (and complex!) than just crossing a rickety bridge hundreds of feet in the air over a river. That’s surely bad enough, but then Daine and Numair find out that they have to carry their belongings across by themselves, thanks to Weiryn and Sarra imparting their stuff with magic. The duckmole and the badger can’t help them. Daine can’t change into a bird of some sort because then she’d have to leave her pack with Numair, which isn’t fair. And so the two of them are left with just one option: walk across the bridge themselves.
IT IS SO TERRIFYING, Y’ALL.
Numair slipped, making the bridge rock.
GODDAMN IT, YOU JUST STARTED, NUMAIR. Give it a few seconds before you make this worse!
Away from the cliff, she walked into a brisk, playful breeze. “Of course,” she growled. “What would a First Bridge be without its own plank-rocking first wind?”
I’m glad to see that Daine is keeping her sense of humor about her. I’d probably be doing the same in order to cope with that giant pile of NOPE that this would be giving me. Because nope. I would probably force my companions to go the long way just to avoid the bridge because N O P E.
Of course, this isn’t enough. WHEN IS IT EVER??? Because then the darkings Daine is carrying start fighting. Y’ALL THINK THERE MIGHT BE A BETTER TIME TO DO THAT MAYBE? MAYBE YOU SHOULD FIGHT AFTER YOU DON’T HAVE A CHANCE OF PLUNGING TO YOUR DEATHS. But the fight is put into context when Daine angrily glares into one of the darkings to see Ozorne’s goddamn face in it. Chapter five finally reveals the darkings’ purpose, though Pierce has to do this largely on a bridge. Which is brilliant, but it also hurts my heart. The hurroks arrive, and WHY. WHY IS EVERYTHING AWFUL. Because of reasons, obviously! Honestly, though, there have been quite a few tense scenes in this quartet, but a hurrok attack on a wood-and-rope bridge? Lord, this feels like the worst one yet. It doesn’t help that while Daine responds quickly and efficiently to take down as many hurroks as possible, one of them seriously injures her when it rakes its claws over her head. And while this didn’t convey the level of risk that would make me feel like she was in serious trouble, it was a sign of how overwhelming this was. Eleven hurroks versus two human and two animal gods, y’all. Not only that, but Ozorne is so casual in directing this attack. He’s had the luxury of being constantly on the offensive ever since the Divine Realms were opened on the mortal realms, and he also doesn’t care what happens to the creatures he sends to torment the humans. That’s what is so frightening about him. He doesn’t even try to hide anymore.
It’s after this that Numair and Daine get to the bottom of the mysterious and baffling behavior of the darkings. I wasn’t surprised that they worked for Ozorne, as that was something I pretty much guessed earlier. What I wanted to know was why these creatures were so willing to be – for lack of a better term – friendly with Daine. How could creatures who were simultaneous spying on Daine treat her as if they enjoyed her company? Were they taking advantage of her affinity for other living creatures? I’d never really considered the fact that they’d deserted Ozorne, though I did suggest that they might be upset with him.
But never in a million years could I have guessed that they were LITERALLY HIS OWN BLOOD. Oh my god, that ceremony he performs is disgusting. Using a Stormwing feather to cut one’s own eyelids? Never have I come across a bigger N O P E in the history of this site. I swear, that is so disturbing that I refuse to spend any more time thinking about it. Just NO! Don’t! Don’t do that!
Anyway, the darking’s desertion speaks to the fact that they are independent creatures, ones who had to been created in the Divine Realms. They demonstrate autonomy and agency, since three have willingly chose to abandon Ozorne for Daine. Obviously, that’s because she treats them better. But now I’m worried about the darkings’ well-being. Clearly, Ozorne can still harm them with magic. At the same time, they’re also developing their own thoughts and opinions, and Daine has named them as well. They’re getting identities. (Cute ones, at that. Jelly? Leaf? Gold-streak? ONE OF THEM WEARS A HAT? Cute oppression rears it’s head, y’all. It’s too much.
And amidst all this, Daine has another dream about Uusoae, and this one is easily the most fucked up. I kind of felt moderately prepared for the darkings storyline. Let’s contrast that with how I feel about the whole Chaos plot: I AM SO CONFUSED. What are the point of these dreams? Why is Daine able to witness the fight between Uusaoe and the gods? Are they really trying to get her to help them? Allow me to echo Daine’s sentiment here: How on earth is she supposed to do that? Seriously! Aren’t the gods aware of the fact that she kind of has enough on her plate already?
But the whole part where Daine becomes Chaos and violently consumes the gods of the Divine Realms, including the badger and her mother, is just a whole lot to take in. There are so many disturbing things in this chapter! I AM OVERWHELMED.
Oh, right, one of the darkings can talk now. Son of a boat, what is this book turning into? IT’S SO RELENTLESS.
Mark Links Stuff
– I have been nominated for a Hugo in the Fan Writer category! If you’d like more information or to direct friends/family to vote for me, I have a very informational post about what I do that you can pass along and link folks to!
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